How to install VMware Tools on Ubuntu or Debian VM

Last updated on September 19, 2014 by Dan Nanni

The following post will walk you through how to isntall VMware Tools on Ubuntu or Debian virtual machine (VM). I assume that you have created your VM on VMware Player.

You first need to power on the VM on which you want to install VMware Tools. Once the VM is on, check if CD-ROM is connected to your VM, and if so, disconnect it from the VM. Then, go to "Virtual Machine" → "Install VMware Tools" on VMware Player menu interface. VMware Player will then download an iso image of VMware tools, and make it mounted to the VM as its CD-ROM. Now reboot the VM.

I recommend doing the rest of the installation procedure as root, rather than using sudo. Using sudo, installation procedure may fail as environment variables may not be set up properly.

Installing VMware Tools involves building new kernel modules, and therefore you need to prepare build environment for kernel module compilation.

$ apt-get install build-essential
$ apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

Now extract the source code of VMware Tools from the CD-ROM's mount point. Note that the default path for mounted CD-ROM might be different across different distros. On Ubuntu 12.04, it's as follows.

$ tar xvfvz /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-8.8.4-743747.tar.gz

Finally, simply run contained in VMware Tools distribution.

If you would like to install VMware Tools on a CentOS-based VM, refer to this tutorial instead.

$ cd vmware-tools-distrib
$ ./

While running, the installation script will ask you a series of questions. If you are not sure, you can accept all default answers.

Once all necessary configurations and builds are completed, a new initrd image will be created. Reboot the VM to finalize VMware Tools installation.

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